The SCHEME-79 Chip

A Scheme/Lisp computer with structured memory and hardware garbage-collection... implemented in Lisp.

The hardware was designed in Lisp with a custom "graphics library" that defines logical components as functions that output simple geometric definitions of the silicon.


The interpreter and garbage collector are also written in Lisp and compiled into a number of small lookup tables that are also compiled directly into "artwork" (semiconductor masks)

sorry for the lack of image captions, it's all phone screenshots of this copied and scanned 1979 paper and there was no OCR on it.

@csepp I was wondering what one might be able to do with a hardware implementation of immutable+transient data structures ala Clojure.

I don't know much about GC things, but my feeling is you could do hardware refcounting so you can e.g. mutate hashmaps when noone is looking and fallback to copy-on-write; and if the memory has some kind of dual-port access you can do awesome parallel stuff with that structured data?

@s_ol That might need some support from the language. Idris2 has a pretty good linear types story.

Oh yeah absolutely, I think the language and cpu would have to designed in tandem for anything worthwhile in this direction.. I'm not familiar with "linear types", will look that up too

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